99 Cents Only Delays Results on SEC Letter

The letter concerns how the firm handled the accounting of a 2000 sale.
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99 Cents Only Stores

(NDN)

delayed the official release of its fourth-quarter results, which was set for today, over a letter from the

Securities and Exchange Commission's

corporate finance division raising questions about its accounting for a sale of a division in 2000.

The small, fast-growing dollar-store owner said the SEC's letter questioned the accounting of its 2000 sale of Universal International. The company also said its results were awaiting final calculations on its California workers' compensation reserve.

The company said the matter could affect results from "year 2000 and subsequent periods," adding that the impact would be "of a non-cash nature and would not affect the net worth of the Company."

The company did offer some unofficial numbers. 99 Cents Only said the workers' comp reserve is estimated to have crimped per-share earnings by 4 to 7 cents. Excluding that item, 99 Cents Only said fourth-quarter earnings would be 27 cents a share. Sales rose 17% to $247.5 million, and profit margins totaled 40.7%.

99 Cents Only said it plans to add 48 new stores in the Southwest during 2004, adding to its current 191. The company also said it plans to increase earnings per share by at least 20% in 2004.